Nehemiah 4

Sanballat and Tobiah mock the Jews and Nehemiah turns to God 1
Enemies angry because of building success 7
Courage 12
On alert 16
.1 ¶ But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.
.2  And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?
   1 - Sanballat A picture of how evil people oppose those whose work displeases them. Anger and ridicule. Sanballat's kind of talk helps develop group hatred and prepares minds to justify violence.
.3  Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.
.4  Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:
 5  And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
 6  So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
  3 - If a fox ... break "The foxes were mentioned because they were known to infest in great numbers the ruined and desolate places in the mount and city of Zion (La 5:18)." (JFB)
  4 - Hear ... despised The leader turns to God in prayer. Should we pray evil on our enemies? Jesus told us to love them lu0627. Prayer was a habit for Nehemiah ne0519, ne0609, ne1314, ne1322 ... He borrowed from Daniel, now from Jeremiah je1203, je1718, je1821,2.
  6 - Unto the half Apparently half of the height. A number of groups were building. See chapter 3.
  7 ¶ But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
 8  And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
 9  Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
 10  And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
 11  And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
  7 - And the Arabians A third group opposing the construction of the wall. See ne0219, ne0210.
  7 - Walls of Jerusalem ...made up Literally, "that there came up a healing on the walls of Jerusalem." Compared to a wound that is growing new flesh.
  8 - Conspired The septuagint (translation into Greek) indicates that a considerable army had been assembled.
   9 - Prayer ... watch They depended on God but used their abilities to defend themselves. See v.14.
  10 - Judah said Poetry follows. The workers may have chanted or sung the words:
  Too weak is the carriers' strength
  and too much the debris;
  And we are not able
  To rebuild the wall (SDA Bible Commentary.)
  11 - They shall not know They heard that their enemies were planning to take the city by surprise and slay the workers. It was a critical time.
.12  And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.
  12 When the Jews who lived by them came they said to us ten times, "From all the places where they live they will come up against us." (RSV)
.13  Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
 14  And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
.15  And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.
   12 - Jews nearby They may have had mixed loyalty since they had no doubt claimed possession of the city territory for themselves.
  13 - Set I in ... places The first part of the verse is obscure in the Hebrew.
  13 - Families Why with their families? Maybe to help the people understand that they were defending their own.
  14 - I looked and rose up The Holy Spirit no doubt inspired the words and helped the people follow the courage of Nehemiah.
  14 - Great and terrible See de1021, ps09903. Compare 2ch1907, je4905.
.16 ¶ And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
 17  They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
 18  For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
  16 - My servants Probably his personal guard. As more help was needed, he sent them to assist.
  17 - With those that laded A single group of carriers with a free hand for the sword.
 19  And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
 20  In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
 21  So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
 22  Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.
 23  So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.
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